The Ultimate Guide to Laguna Beach, California

As an Orange County local, it’s safe to say Laguna Beach is my favorite Southern California beach town.  I remember coming to this city during the summer months to enjoy the sunshine with my toes in the sand.  This city is much more than a setting for an MTV reality show, it is full of serene beauty and picturesque views.  Every time I visit, I fall more in love with the hidden away parts of the city away from the luxury stores and houses.  Here are my suggestions of what to see and do when visiting:

Things to Do:

Check out the Art Scene:

Laguna Beach is notorious known for it’s art scene, which is demonstrated through the variety of art classes offered, the city’s self-guided art tour, and even a free art exhibition in the City Hall.  In fact, the city even hosts the International Art Festival every summer.  The best way to experience the art scene is by checking out the many museums such as the Laguna Art Museum that showcase local artists work.

The Beaches:

Laguna Beach provides a free open air trolley service to help get through the struggle of beach-parking and to help get around the city. Check the website for times and routes. 

Victoria Beach

This hidden fairytale-style beach is my favorite to go to when visiting Laguna Beach because it is complete with a castle-style tower (Victoria Tower) that is right next to breathtaking rock cliffs and tide pools! I would recommend this beach to travelers looking to get amazing photos of the ocean and other nature aspects of Southern California.

Crescent Bay Beach

I love this beach because it truly has everything: clear blue ocean water, tide pools, and even sea lions! I call this the adventure beach because it is big enough to walk around and enjoy looking at the marine life.  Many people enjoying climbing the rocks and even snorkeling!  It is an amazing hidden gem in Laguna and a great place to get some beautiful ocean adventure shots.

Thousand Steps Beach

No, it is not actually a thousand steps down to the beach (only around 230 or so), so be prepared for a little workout that will be worth your while once you reach this local-favorite beach.

Cress Street Beach

For the couple travelers looking for a romantic place to watch the sunset over the ocean, this is the spot for you! The picturesque views you will get of the Southern California sky will leave you speechless.  However, I wouldn’t recommend this as a tanning beach because the tides gets pretty high so there is not a lot of places to sit without getting wet.

just a happy little beach bum: (check out my Instagram here)

Where to Enjoy the Famous SoCal Sunshine:

Top of the World Hike:

This popular Laguna Beach hiking spot has a variety of different trails ranging from easy to difficult where you will see beautiful flowers and plants along with incredible views from the top of the city!  Be sure to bring some water because it gets hot and many paths require going uphill.

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Joshua Tree, California

Visit Heisler Park:

This park is perfect for a half-mile stroll along the ocean, a romantic picnic, or a sunset barbecue with your friends and family. My favorite part?  The colorful flowers during the stroll and the tide pools!

Go Kayaking or Paddle boarding:

Rent a kayak or paddle board from one of the many vendors along the bay and enjoy a day of exploring hidden coves and reefs, and maybe even getting to spot a sea lion!

Check out my Southern California style looks:

Where to Eat:

Budget:

Ruby’s Diner 30622 Coast Highway

Ruby’s continues to be an amazing source for comfort food including shakes, burgers, and onion rings.  It has such a fun atmosphere that takes you back to California in the 5o’s.

Gina’s Pizza 610 N Coast Highway

Stop here for cheap pizza by the slice and a cool beer after your day at the beach.

Moderate:

Nick’s Laguna Beach 440 S Coast Highway

Nick’s has remained the number one restaurant in Laguna Beach for a reason, their menu is reasonably priced for the quality of food you get.  I came alone to the restaurant and everyone from the manager to the bartender came by to make sure I was having a great experience.  From the incredible food to the amazing service, Nick’s has everything you need to have a delicious dining experience by the beach.

Luxury:

230 Forest Ave Restaurant & Bar 230 Forest Ave

This restaurant is known for their incredible seafood entrees such as the fish tacos or the seafood salad.  It’s a great place to end the night with a cocktail out on the patio.

 

Whenever I have the option of a SoCal beach, I always find myself heading down to Laguna Beach.  This town has an incredible atmosphere and friendly locals that make an unforgettable city.  I hope you enjoyed my guide and please let me know in the comments if there is anything I missed!

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Los Angeles, California

Enjoy the sunshine,
L x

 

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